In February of 2017, delivery robots will be making their debut in two US cities: Washington, DC, and Redwood City, CA. Previously, the world was abuzz about drones delivering goods, but the reality is that airspace is managed and regulated federally, and drones present a challenge to our day-to-day lives.


Robots that roll down sidewalks at four miles per hour, on the other hand, don’t present much of a threat to anyone. This particular robot has 12,000 miles to its credit in European cities, and there is little to no evidence suggesting it will be less than successful in the US and North America in general.


While moderately faster than molasses in January, the bot has 9 cameras, a 360-degree ultrasonic sensor array and an Nvidia Tegra K1 processor to view its surroundings, map them and avoid obvious obstacles. Its navigation system is reportedly more precise than commercially available non-military GPS receivers.

Barring as-yet-unforeseen breakthroughs in the technology, robot delivery of pizzas and groceries is at best a long way off. Which is not a bad thing as that gives us all time to figure out whether or not you need to tip a robot.

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